Friday, April 06, 2012

Restaurant Atelier, Glebe

Our last #twEATup saw us dining at Booth Street Bistro in Annandale.  At the table were Chef Darren Templeman and his restaurant manager wife Bernie who together own and run the gorgeous Restaurant Atelier in Glebe. Of course it's only logical then that we all descend on their restaurant for our next #twEATup to put them through their paces and to eat them out of house and home.


Our group of ten "tweeps" ( {wife Claudia}, {#twEATup organiser},   {plus friend G} and ) are dining upstairs in the private dining room.  The room is quiet, comfortable and is cosily tucked away from the rest of the restaurant - it feels like dining at someone's home. I'm super impressed at Bernie who runs up and down the stairs all night laden with plates of food and doesn't break a sweat - they'd have to call an ambulance for me if that was my job.


We're here for a ten course degustation ($90 per person) and I've worn my most roomy of eating dresses.  Let the feast begin!

As with all good meals in Sydney our feast begins with a generous serving of crusty bread served with individual pats of salted Pepe Saya butter.  If you can tear yourself away from the Pepa Saya there is also some olive oil with Balsamic as well as a generous quenelle of olive tapenade in EVOO.


Le Bon Vivant has, again, very generously raided his wine-cellar for us and our glasses are kept full all night. Of course I have no idea what any of it is, but it keeps flowing and it's lovely. Our dinner kicks off with sumac-cured kingfish belly, heirloom tomatoes, greek basil topped with tomato sorbet.  It's as pretty as a picture, light and refreshing and serves to wake up my lazy tastes buds.


Atelier buys the majority of its meat from ethical butcher Urban Food Market so I went on a meat-eating rampage this night!  Our next dish is poached Western Australia Marron tail, crispy pigs’ ear, grated green apple with a red curry oil and citrus sesame dressing.   What a fantastic dish.  I loved the delicate Marron and the crispy pigs' ear served as a great textural balance to the Marron - oh my!  The delicate little pea-sized balls of avocado just illustrated to me how much care and attention was going into the preparation of our meals.

Our third dish was a Chicken Ballotine with pea and ham ice-cream (swoon), baby lotus root and peas and crispy chicken skin.  I had mentioned to Chef Darren prior to our dinner that I didn't eat foie gras which the others had sprinkled over their Ballotine...and I wasn't too fond of offal either (innards = eep).  As soon as I saw this Ballotine I just KNEW there was some sneaky offal hidden within...and there was. I later found out it was a case of crouching liver, hidden cocks comb but you know what I LOVED this dish.  And for the record Crispy Chicken Skin is AMAZING!


If you're a fan of Miso Soup then you would seriously fall in love with this - I know I did.  A dainty bowl of confit bonito, tofu, snake beans and enoki mushrooms is placed before us, the shaved bonito flakes dancing delicately in front of us. Steaming Miso Soup is ceremoniously poured into each of our bowls - fantastic, really flavoursome!


The poached fillet of John Dory with celeriac, pine mushroom, royal blue potato, baby sorrel and a béarnaise sauce was a huge hit at the table. Conversation feel silent as we all enjoyed the buttery John Dory - topping a buttery tasting fish with béarnaise is a stroke of genius. Oh so good! I loved the crispy little cube of potato, I could've eaten a whole bowl to myself.


Ta-da! A surprise sixth course makes its way upstairs to ooohs and aaahs from the group - even the "non-food bloggers" whip out their cameras and iPhone to take a snap or three of this delicious looking Suckling Pig. After enjoying our earlier Marron dish with crispy pig ears I commandeered the ears for myself and munched away. Crispy + salty = yum!


This dish was a first for me - never having eaten goose before, and we all had a chuckle when Bernie randomly called out "goose" in the middle of our boisterous conversation - I guess it's a good way to get our attention so the dish could be explained to us.  To be honest when the glazed breast of goose served with jerusalem artichokes, jicama, baby king browns and warrigal greens was put before me I was a little...hesitant. I'm not sure why - I guess I stupidly thought I wouldn't like goose, like maybe the flavour would be "too strong", or I would freak out because it's cooked more on the "pink side" of things and I'm from the "burn it" school of meat eating.  Stupid me.  I actually think this was my favourite dish of the night, the goose was so tender, so succulent, so full of lovely flavours...and it was topped with a crispy tile of skin, love crispy skin!


Our last main of the night is a roast rump of Saltbush Lamb, Confit Rib, Carrot Puree, Portobello Mushroom and Confit Onions.  I LOVE Lamb and I LOVE Saltbush Lamb - it's full of flavour and so succulent.  Having lived in Broken Hill for a while I made friends with some farmers who grazed their sheep on salt bush.  Being the city slicker I was at the time I had no idea sheep ate anything other than grass - I mean, there's not much grass out there so that's all there is to eat really.  I loved this dish and it reminded me of some great friends I met out west.  Sigh.

And onto the cheese course.  It doesn't look like a cheese course and it's a dish that really messes with my head.  The grated Comte (that's cheese to you) with roasted apple, bacon and maple ice cream and a carob crisp LOOKS like it should be a sweet, and when I take my first mouthful I'm confused by the savoury flavour. It's a fun and challenging dish. And BACON ICE-CREAM! Need I say more?


It's dessert time, and surprisingly I'm not full!  One of the benefits of a long leisurely meal is having the chance for your previous seven courses to sink towards your toes a bit.  Our first dessert is a beautiful Chocolate and Olive Oil Delice served with a silky smooth sheep’s milk yoghurt ice cream, fresh blackberries and a vanilla salt milk purée. I loved mixing the Delice with the salt milk puree - salty and sweet go so well together.  Fresh blackberries are a real treat too.

Our final dish for the night is a fairly interactive one.  My Strawberry and black pepper soufflé is nearly tall enough to touch the ceiling and it seems a bit of a shame to dig a hole in the middle of this light, airy perfection in order to spoon in some fraises des bois sorbet and pour in a bit of basil milkshake.  But I do and I'm rewarded with an explosion of flavours and texture. And best of all, I get to eat the chocolate straw once the milkshake is finished.



Sadly The Boy missed out on our EPIC feast last weekend as he was away refereeing Water Polo in Newcastle.  The meal was so amazing that I feel he really missed out on something special...so I happily raced backed to Atelier last night just for him (well, mostly for me - but any excuse for good food, right)?  We had another epic degustation, a really special meal and were made to feel so welcome by Bernie and Darren - if we lived in Glebe I know that this would definitely become our "local".

Restaurant Atelier is at 22 Glebe Point Road, Glebe. Phone them on 9566 2112.

Restaurant Atelier on Urbanspoon

24 comments:

  1. I my gosh, that pigs head! Craaazy! Did it make you scared Miss Piggy? :P

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    1. LOL, the pigs head is a little confronting I must say. I'm going to try and get more into this sort of thing though as we really should be eating the whole piggy, not just the crackling.

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    2. Hey Mel read this article, I think you'd find it really interesting! http://stickyrice.typepad.com/my_weblog/2012/04/rangoon-market-shot.html

      Fantastic post also! x

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    3. Thanks for the link Lola - a really good, respectful perspective on eating the whole animal. I think for people who were raised (like me) just eating chops, steaks and rissoles going "nose to tail" is a real challenge, a change of mindset - but I'm going to get it more of a go.

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  2. Wow - stunning dishes! Don't like the looks of the piggy head but all else looks divine!

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    1. The pigs was a REAL show stopper. I started with the ears...next time maybe the cheek. Not sure I could eat the snout though.

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  3. The food here looks incredible, especially the sumac-cured kingfish. Lovely photos too!

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  4. I never knew restaurants have a 'Goose' dish. Definately on my must try list.
    The desserts look delicious.

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    1. I suppose Goose isn't that common in Australia, but Atelier is a French restaurant and I hear that the French are quite partial to goose. This goose is free-range too from here in Oz. Man, it was GOOD! Good Goose!

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  5. Wow, I'm jealous now, what a great dinner! I've been to Atelier, they rock. I wonder where they get jicama from, I haven't found it in Sydney.

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    1. Hi Gaby - it's an amazing place isn't it (so amazing I've been twice in less than a week)!

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  6. Awesome, but so not fair! I wish I had been there. Looks darned fine.

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  7. "crouching liver, hidden cocks comb"... had me cracking up! Glad you enjoyed that dish anyway. The whole meal looks incredible! So cool that you guys catch up to try out new places. Sounds like a fun gang!

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  8. Awesome meal, Atelier is on my list of must visits. We are actually doing a whole suckling pig tomorrow for Easter Sunday lunch. Can't wait!

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  9. Happy Easter :D Oh gosh that suckling pig looks a little scary hehe but i'm sure it tastes absolutely amazing! Definitely putting this onto my 'must go' list ~

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  10. Oh gosh, I was laughing so much.. miss piggy and and the pig head.. so cute. Gosh the food looks yum!!!

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    1. I was looking in the mirror I tell you!

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  11. I always walk past this place and wondered if it was any good. But holy moly at that pig's head!

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  12. Wow...the pigs head is particularly impressive! Sounds like a beautiful meal. Thanks for the link up :)

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  13. If it didn't make me hungry watching the tweets when you all got home that evening this has pushed me over the edge. Not to mention any meal with more than one dessert is a huge win in my books! Gorgeous!!

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  14. wow check out the piggy!! amazing. dishes look so fresh and clean, love it!

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  15. Hello miss piggy! Can't believe I found you site today since I just blogged about the muppets, and I am also an adventure lover! Awesome!

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  16. Haha thats dedication rushing bak for the love of your life ;) it all looks amazing!

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  17. Beautiful food at such an understated restaurant.

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